Mumbai City FC's marquee player-cum-manager Nicolas Anelka has revealed that he will not be back as a coach in the next season of the Indian Super League (ISL) after his side were held 1-1 by Kerala Blasters FC at Navi Mumbai's DY Patil Stadium yesterday.
The draw means Mumbai, who have 13 points from 12 games, have only a mathematical chance of making it to the semis, with two games left.
This has been the Frenchman's first full season in charge of a club and it has seen its fair share of turmoil with playmaker Andre Moritz and assistant coach Oscar Bruzon parting ways with the club reportedly due to issues with the temperamental striker-turned-manager.
During his post-match press conference, Anelka, admitted the season had been far from easy as a manager. "Coaching has been very, very difficult. It's hard when you don't pick your players. "I don't think I'll come back. You have to speak to the team management. The target was to reach the semi-finals, which has not been met."
Mumbai City FC's Juan Aguilera (centre) shoots to score against Kerala Blasters FC in a Hero Indian Super League encounter at the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul, Navi Mumbai yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK
On being asked if he will be back as a player, Anelka replied: "As a player maybe. I'll have to rest and think what I need to do." Anelka also brushed aside Mumbai's chances of making the semis.
"I don't want to lie. I don't think we can make it," said the 36-year-old before slamming his players for failing to hold on to the lead yesterday. Mumbai went ahead through Juan Aguilera (25th min) before Kerala's Antonio German (89th min) equalised.